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History of Hawaii Atlantis Submarine Tours

Information about the history of Atlantis submarine tours from the time Atlantis launched their first recreational passenger submarine tour in 1986 through launching their Hawaii submarine tours on Oahu, Maui, and the Big Island of Hawaii.

Atlantis first began offering submarine tours in 1986 on Grand Cayman Island in the Caribbean on the Atlantis I passenger submarine.

Atlantis launched their larger, 48 passenger Atlantis II submarine in Barbados in 1987.

In 1988 Atlantis began offering Atlantis 48-passenger submarines tours on the Atlantis IV off the Kona coast of the Big Island of Hawaii.

In 1989 Atlantis began offering submarine tours on Oahu on the brand new submarine Atlantis VI. That year they also worked with the University of Hawaii's Sea Grant Program and the Hawaii State Department of Land and Natural Resources to build or sink several structures to form the beginnings of an artificial reef. The artificial reef structures off Waikiki included concrete pyramid and ring shaped structures, a decommissioned ship, and two airplanes.

In 1991 Atlantis began offering a submarine tour off the coast of Maui and they added a second 48-passenger submarine to their Waikiki operation.

In 1994 Atlantis had a 64-passenger built for their Waikiki operation, named the Atlantis XIV At the time there were two submarines operating in Waikiki but the tours were so popular it became necessary to add a third. One of the reasons the Oahu tours were so popular is that Atlantis had built a series of artificial reef structures offshore of Waikiki that were designed to attract coral growth and protect marine life in an underwater area that had been destroyed in the past by a hurricane.

In May of 1999 The submarines Atlantis VII and Atlantis XIV collided with each other while operating off the coast of Waikiki. As Atlantis XIV waited on the surface to correct a communication problem, Atlantis VII entered the same dive zone and attempted to resurface. The hand rails on the deck of the Atlantis VII struck the skids on the Atlantis XIV. No persons were injured. The hand rails on the Atlantis VII were damaged. There was no damage to Atlantis XIV.

In 2002 Atlantis Adventures purchased the 400 passenger Navatek I and began offering evening dinner cruises off the Waikiki coast. By the summer of 2000 Atlantis Adventures was in its 12th year it was one of Hawaii's largest attractions operators.

In the first quarter of 2002 Ronald Williams became president and CEO of Atlantis Adventures. He had served as the company's chief operating officer since 1996.

In 2004 Atlantis adventures celebrated their 15 year anniversary of operating in Hawaii.

-On December 14, 2005 Atlantis Submarines of Maui sank the 97 foot Carthaginian II vessel off the coast of Lahaina on the island of Maui. The steel hull vessel was originally a freight ship but in 1973 it was converted into a Maui tourist attraction and museum by rigging it up to look like a 19th century whaling vessel.
- Ship to Be Sunk as Sub-Sea Attraction
- Lahaina Icon Sinks Into Deep Sleep
-Also that year, on November 16, 2005 at 2:00 p.m. one of the Atlantis submarines hit the bottom floor of the ocean when it experienced a minor malfunction. There were 41 passengers and three crew members on board the 100 foot submarine at the time but none of them were injured. The sub was in 70 feet of water when the hull touched down on the ocean floor. Most of the passengers were not even aware that it happened and there was no damage to the submarine. Passengers were given the option of either getting a refund or taking the tour again at another time.

By 2007 Atlantis International was employing about 450 people and operating 11 submarines in 11 locations in Hawaii, Guam, and the Caribbean. 2008
Atlantis Submarines celebrated the 20 year anniversary of their first submarine dive in Hawaii from September 5, 2008 through December 31, 2008. As of 2008 Dennis Hurd was president of Atlantis Submarines International although I'm not sure when he moved into that position. By 2008 the Atlantis International had taken more then 11 million passengers on submarine tours on one of their 48-passenger or 64-passenger submarines in Hawaii, the Caribbean, and Guam. In November of 2008 the Honolulu Advertiser reported that the Vancouver based Atlantis Submarines revenues dropped significantly between 2007 and 2008.
- Atlantis Sub Revenue Dropped in 2008

For more information about the history of Atlantis International see Atlantis Adventures: Our Story

See also:
- More About Atlantis Adventures of Hawaii
- Introduction to the Atlantis Submarine Cruises
- Atlantis Dinner Cruises

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